Latham Hall, the Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Laboratory, is located between Cheatham and Smyth Halls. It replaces older campus facilities not suited for state-of-the-art research.
Approximately 75 percent of the five-floor, 85,000-square-foot facility provides laboratory space for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, including crop and soil environmental sciences; entomology; plant pathology, physiology and weed science; and horticulture. The College of Natural Resources and Environment utilizes approximately 25 percent for its departments of forestry and fisheries and wildlife sciences.
The first floor houses a number of controlled-environment chambers that are used primarily for plant molecular and physiological studies. Faculty offices and research laboratories for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are on the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors.
Some of the research conducted in the new labs includes, crop improvement through breeding and metabolic engineering, analysis of host-disease genetics to enhance crop quality and yield, control of insect vector diseases, and studies for improving soil fertility.
The building represents more than 25 years of planning by the College – back to when the College of Natural Resources and Environment was the School of Forestry within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Virginia Higher Education Bond Referendum passed in 2002 provided the funds for constructing this and other key buildings on campus.